Dakota: An Old Friend

Dakota: An Old Friend

26 March 2015

This is the way the world turns in Dakota Crescent; its low-slung buildings with enough space to laugh, the wide boulevards stretching out sun-drenched and hearty.

Decades old, it has aged well, a grandmother who still puts on her boots to join her compatriots line-dancing to Bananarama down at the local community centre.

Feeling the ache in her doorways, in the weathered smile of her bricks, nevertheless she is a proud dame, someone you wouldn’t hesitate to stop and trade a little neighbourhood gossip with.

Incidentally, Dakota is also a Native American tribe in northern Mississippi. A tribe that’s dying out, just like this estate. Surrounded by apartments that clamber ever higher in their quest to maximise real estate, the sprawl of Dakota Crescent seems almost obscene to modern developers, a travesty of space on prime land.

Opened in 1958, these Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) built flats were developed in the area at the end of the old Kallang Airport runway, land freed up after the airport was closed.

But as with all things in Singapore, they will have to make way for estate renewal plans by the end of 2016.

Tucked in a corner, a little playground with a dove rises out of the sand pit. Its old-fashioned tiles and stone slides beckon to my childhood, to a time when hellbent construction didn’t seem to be such a conspicuous, painful act of national duty.

Text & photos: Marc

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